Anyone Else Offended by Rake?

I initially liked Rake. Not anymore.

The Rake episode about the bigamist really offended me for its depiction of attorneys, judges and women. I have not been this offended since Girls Club. Here is why:

The Prosecuting Attorney

The only “strong” female character who was not in any form of distress was an extremely mean DA. She cut down her former husband, now a judge, in chambers in front of defense counsel. Apparently a strong woman with a successful career only knows how to spit venom and hate.

Problems with this part of the show would be 1) an attorney handling a case before an former spouse; and 2) it sent the message successful female attorneys are horrible human beings. Simply not true.

The Defendant’s Wives

The Defendant was a “good dad” who happened to have married three women. The second and third marriages would be void and illegal under Cal Fam Code § 2201. While the Defense effectively argued jury nullification to not throw the criminal-husband in jail, there is no way the subsequent marriages would be legal.

The really disturbing element was the level of forgiveness the wives showed the “husband” for his bigamy. No one gets a free pass for this strict liability crime.

Scarlet

Scarlet continued to be unhappy in her marriage and career, which included getting arrested for a DUI. Basic message: lawyers are unhappy in marriage and love.

The Secretary

We learned that Deane’s British secretary is in the United States illegally and was upset her boyfriend has gone to Scotland for two years.

The Mayor’s Wife

Deane called upon the Mayor’s wife for help getting Scarlet out of her DUI, with the blunt message the Mayor’s wife wanted an affair with Deane.

Mikki the Harassed Law Student

Mikki stopped being a $500 an hour prostitute and went to law school. While there will be a problem with her bar application at some point, she was terrorized by one of her former clients who was also a lawyer.

Mikki had to call Deane for helping getting the former client to leave her alone. Refreshingly, she stood Deane up on Valentine’s Day.

The Stalker’s Wife

Deane “defeats” the stalker by visiting his wife with a story of how the stalker helped a dying man. The wife is depicted as happy, but very clueless because she places a sex toy out as a decoration, thinking it is art.

Deane’s Conduct

Deane had redeeming actions such as trying to help Mikki and Scarlet, but also obsessive behavior towards his ex-wife, dealing with his own stalker and womanizing.

What Bothered Me

I found this episode to be highly degrading to women, lawyers and lawyers who are women. The message that successful women attorneys are horrible human beings (the DA); that a happy wife is clueless; that the Defendant’s wives would have ANY ounce of forgiveness after their marriage vows and children were betrayed for years; that the Mayor’s wife was eager to betray her marriage; and that a woman attorney is unhappy in her marriage of 15 years. The only woman who tried rising above being a victim was Mikki by the fact she stood up Deane. This simply was a horrible episode in its depiction of men, women and those of us who practice law.

Lawyers have difficult jobs and a large number of recent graduates struggling to find jobs. We have high rates of divorce, substance abuse and suicide. There are those of us who make poor life choices, as with any member of the human race.

We are also the ones who work extremely hard defending the rights of others. It would be nice to see a TV show that does not so brutally misrepresent our profession.

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Josh Gilliland
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.